NFL.com Ranks Colts as Having 11th Best Backfield
According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, the Indianapolis Colts have the 11th best backfield in the NFL. Of course, the team had a major addition this offseason with the signing of longtime San Francisco 49ers great Frank Gore:
"11. Colts: Frank Gore, Dan Herron, Vick Ballard, Zurlon Tipton, Josh Robinson"
While the Colts fall just short of Sessler’s Top 10, who also received input from NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah, it’s not a bad ranking all things considered. Rounding out the NFL’s Top 5 are the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers, all of whom (except the Saints) possess arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL.
The Colts figures to be drastically improved, but it’s not just because the Colts dumped Trent Richardson and signed the historically rock solid Gore. Rather, the team also drafted 6th round running back Josh Robinson, who runs with power and purpose using his low to the ground frame. Per Mike Wells of ESPN, the team has already been impressed with the rookie running back:
"“Robinson is the Colts’ sixth-round pick who coach Chuck Pagano said has the potential to be an every-down running back in the NFL.”"
Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Dan Herron (36) against the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
However, Dan “Boom” Herron is returning for another season after playing well and eventually taking over the starting role for Richardson late last season. The wildcard of this group appears to be Vick Ballard, who is still rehabilitating from a torn Achilles and hasn’t practiced, but isn’t too far removed from an impressive rookie season in 2012 if he can fully recover.
Nevertheless, the success of this team will still largely depend on the legs of Gore. The 32 year old veteran running back rushed for 1,106 rushing yards on 255 carries and 4 touchdowns last season for the 49ers. He’ll provide the Colts with a featured running back and a workhorse that can provide them with an in-between-the tackles presence.
This year’s talented backfield figures to bolster what’s been a middling running game in recent seasons. The Colts haven’t had a 1,000 rusher since Joseph Addai in 2007, and their highest individual rushing yard total over the past 5 years was Ballard’s 814 rushing yards in 2012.
#11 isn’t a bad ranking for the Colts, but it’s possible that this group could surprise and become even higher by season’s end. At the very least, due to Gore, this team should be significantly improved in the ground game.
Jun 9, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore (23) goes through workout drills during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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